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IEBC accuses authorities of harassment

IEBC said the three foreign nations were released on strict conditions and had their items confiscated and not as earlier said by the police

IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has countered the statement released by the National Police Service (NPS) after the arrest of the commission’s personnel at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

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In a statement released on Friday July 22, the commission’s chairperson Wafula Chebukati said the material and personnel arrested were released under strict conditions contrary to how the NPS service said.

“Whereas the impression created by the press release is that the personnel have been released, their release was conditional as they have to appear before the OCS Antiterrorism Police Unit on 26th July 2022 which inevitably affects the performance of their duties,” part of the statement by the IEBC read.

The IEBC further said the police did not release the stickers as earlier said noting that the material have been confiscated by the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit making it hard to prepare for the elections which are now 16 days away.

Besides the election materials, the security officers also retained personal items from the three foreign nationals and have been compelled to share passwords to their gadgets.

“The National Police Service has, most importantly confiscated all electronic items including mobile phones, laptops and flash disks in the custody of the said personnel, which electronic items contain important and sensitive information relating to the forthcoming elections as well as projects undertaken by them for other countries.

The said personnel were compelled to give passwords to the confiscated phones and gadgets resulting in a violation of their right to privacy,” the IEBC said in their statement.

Other than the three Venezuelans two other commission's personnel who had gone to check on their colleagues were also arrested.

The commission has called for the release of the retained items and further demanded authorities not to harass any of its personnel.

The police had earlier said the sensitivity of the material the personnel were in possession of forced their arrest but were released after clarification and intervention from the commission.

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